Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 15:38:15 +0200
To: BAHASA List <>
Subject: Re: BAHASA- Query on object focus conventions

I was in Hamburg ... last week and missed the interesting discussion. So here are my two pence, just in case it's of interest to anybody:

The paradigm provided in traditional grammars:

   (1) kubaca
   (2) kaubaca
   (3) dibacanya

is most certainly obsolete (if it had ever been valid for the spoken language). To begin with, let's do away with the interpretation usually provided in those traditional grammars, that the di in (3) is a contraction of dia. Apart from the fact, that "3rd person" is expressed in the nya, and not in the di, it must be noted (a) that the di reflects a proto-prefix *Di, which is also represented in other languages, e.g. as ri- in Buginese; and (b) dia does not belong in the same series as ku and kau, but compare:

   1st:  aku untuk/kepada-kudengan/akan-dakuku-baca
   2nd:  engkauuntuk/kepada-mu*dengan/akan-dikau kau-baca
   3rd:  ia untuk/kepada-nyadengan/akan-dia .......
   * some local dialects have -kau here, in parallel to a kamu/-mu paradigm

Thus, dia must have originally belonged with daku and dikau; although subsequently, we also get nya being used instead of dia, and dia getting used in positions formerly occupied by -nya or ia.

In my opinion, the difficulties with the (1)-(2)-(3) paradigm is that it actually represents an eclectic mixture of parts of two totally different paradigms.

Paradim I is that of the active(a)-passive(p) category of voice. It's use, at least in the literary language, seems to have been restricted to the 3rd person. In the modern language, however, this restriction no longer holds.

   1a. aku sudah minum kopi itu / kopi itu aku sudah minum
   1p. kopi itu sudah diminum oleh-ku / sudah diminum kopi itu oleh-ku
       / sudah diminum oleh-ku kopi itu

ditto with saya, hamba etc. in the place of aku/-ku; Analogically, anda, engkau/-mu, kamu/-mu

   3a. ia sudah minum kopi itu / kopi itu ia sudah minum
   3p. kopi itu sudah diminum [oleh]-nya / sudah diminum kopi itu oleh-nya
       / sudah diminum [oleh]-nya kopi itu

ditto with dia in place of -nya

   4a. Ali sudah minum kopi itu / kopi itu Ali sudah minum
   4p. kopi itu sudah diminum [oleh] Ali / sudah diminum kopi itu oleh Ali
       / sudah diminum [oleh] Ali kopi itu

Note that oleh is optional in some positions, when the agent is the 3rd person, regardless of whether expressed by a personal pronoun, or proper name, or noun, or nominal phrase.

Paradigm II is that of absolutive(a)-ergative(e). So in my opinion, one should include Malay among the Austronesian languages which are both subject-predicative and ergative (Tagalog being another, and also the most "notorious" of them, I understand).

   1a. aku sudah minum kopi itu / kopi itu aku sudah minum
   1e. kopi itu sudah aku-minum / sudah aku-minum kopi itu
     kopi itu sudah ku-minum / sudah ku-minum kopi itu

Note that the ergative is procliticized, regardless of whether one uses the short ku- or the long aku- form. Also, aku and aku-/ku- may be replaced by saya and saya- respectively (I use a hyphen to indicate clisis, regardless of how the baku spelling treats it in each concrete case)

   3a. ia sudah minum kopi itu / kopi itu ia sudah minum
   3e. kopi itu sudah ia-minum / sudah ia-minum kopi itu

ditto with dia and dia-;

   4a. Ali sudah minum kopi itu / kopi itu Ali sudah minum
   4e. kopi itu sudah Ali-minum / sudah Ali-minum kopi itu
   5a. tamu-tamu yang datang dari jauh itu sudah minum kopi itu /
     / kopi itu tamu-tamu yang datang dari jauh itu sudah minum
   5e. kopi itu sudah tamu-tamu-yang-datang-dari-jauh-itu-minum /
     / sudah tamu-tamu-yang-datang-dari-jauh-itu-minum kopi itu

That's all I have.

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